Despite the mid-semester struggles that students are enduring—with the only cure, of course, being Thanksgiving break—the Geneseo cross country team remains as focused as ever. The team will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday Nov. 19, and both the men and women have a good shot at winning it all. The successes this team accomplished this season have been well deserved, but not as well recognized as they should have been. Still, the Knights are making Geneseo proud and are contributing to Geneseo’s thriving cross country program.
“We’re building upon the successes of the past, and success breeds success,” head coach Dan Moore said. “I’ve been lucky enough to inherit a program with this culture already in place.”
The team must improve upon their physical practice and mental practice, according to Moore. The training of a runner’s legs is just as important as the training of a runner’s mind. The team uses the word “believe” as their mantra to keep pushing forward.
“The athletes believe in the training, they believe in the philosophy, they believe in each other and that’s why it’s so easy to keep that culture going,” Moore said.
To keep his athletes working hard, every year Moore tells them to reinvent themselves. This remaking, to Moore, can be in volume or in the pace that they run. Consequently, Moore and the athletes themselves need to believe that they can improve on their own—they cannot rely on other team members, as they must put in all of their individual effort.
Because cross country is such an individual sport, people think that it’s an isolated sport—but that’s untrue. The athletes have a lot of support from both their peers and their coaches. There are three coaches on staff for cross country and they all meet with the runners individually in order to go over their specific needs for the next race or for the season as a whole.
“Whether it’s me, coach Wach or coach Popovici who meets with them, I know they’re in good hands and that they are preparing them for the best performance that they can,” Moore said.
By setting up meetings with the runners, they can work with each athlete’s perspectives and attitudes since everyone has a different mentality and motivation. Getting to know the runners over the course of their four years at Geneseo is incredibly important for helping them to grow as an athlete.
In addition to the individual meetings, they also have team meetings everyday in order to remind the runners of the purpose of what they’re doing.
“These teams are very supportive of each other and they’re working incredibly hard, and now on Saturday we’re going to try to place as high as we can. It’s exciting,” Moore said.
Whatever happens on Saturday Nov. 19, however, will not diminish this season’s excellence for the cross country program.